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If You Can’t Be On Time, Be Obscenely Early

, , , , , | Working | CREDIT: theoryofrelativetea | September 13, 2021

I get a summer job at my university working for professors that I have worked with before, and they ask me last-minute to teach a summer workshop to ninth- and tenth-graders.

So, with less than two weeks before the camp starts, I have a bunch of paperwork to do first, including “clearances” that say I can work with kids. One of these is an official FBI check, for which they need my fingerprints. I need to do the physical fingerprinting right away in order to get the result in time. Luckily, I am able to book a fingerprinting appointment for that Friday — booked twenty-four hours in advance, as required — which will be just barely enough time to get the result.

That Friday, I catch the subway to campus and it’s atrociously slow. I’ll admit that I should have planned for this; the subway here is always behind. I end up slightly late getting to campus, so I literally run to the police station and enter the front room exactly five minutes after my appointment time. I know this because, as I step through the door, I feel my phone buzz with what I later learn to be a “Your appointment has been cancelled” email.

I speak to the cop behind bulletproof glass inside and I learn that my appointment was cancelled; apparently, they are automatically cancelled if you’re not checked in within five minutes. Obviously, this is outrageous, but I’m usually a patient guy. I ask if I can book a new appointment. That’s no good, since it would have to be Monday or later.

I grab a coffee from across the street and return to sit inside the police station. I try and solve this with some Googling while I slip into a more and more frantic state of frustration. I can’t find anywhere in the city that can fingerprint me before Monday.

But here’s what really pushes me over the edge. While I’m sitting there, at this point thirty minutes past my appointment time, someone else comes in for fingerprints. She shows up five minutes early. They take her in immediately and she’s out before her appointment was even scheduled to begin. The entire thing took her about two minutes. I point out to the cop behind the glass, as politely as I can, that clearly someone could see me right now because her appointment is already over. Why can’t I have the current slot? But the cop insists that since my appointment was cancelled, my registration info is “no longer in the system” and I can’t be seen today.

That’s when the idea comes to me and I confirm with him that showing up early is not a problem, because they would have my appointment and registration info in the system. You see where I’m going with this.

I quietly sit back down and take out my phone. About ten minutes later, I calmly approach him again and say, “Hello, I have a new appointment to be fingerprinted. I’m about seventy-two hours early.”

I have never seen such an exasperated sigh in my life. But the cop checked my new confirmation number and everything was in order. Within ten minutes, I was walking back out after getting fingerprinted.

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Time Budgeting Is Hard Work

, , , , , , | Working | September 7, 2021

I had a coworker come to my cubicle to talk to me about the email I had sent her. She said she was too busy to read such a long message. We spent ten minutes talking about it.

The average person reads 300 Words Per Minute but speaks about 150 WPM. My message was less than 900 words, and so it should have taken less than three minutes to read. Great time-saver, talking to me about it instead of reading it.

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The First Mistake Was Letting Him In

, , , | Right | September 5, 2021

A customer is banging on our doors five minutes after closing.

Customer: “Let me in! I want to do a return!”

The store manager makes a cashier open up a new register.

Cashier: “Where is your receipt, sir?”

Customer: “I don’t have it.”

While the store policy is too lenient as it is, this item is a brand no one recognizes as ours.

Cashier: “Sir, I am unable to complete this return without the receipt.”

Customer: *Flipping out.* “My wife got it here! You’re just trying to rip me off!”

The cashier gets the department manager to come over. She takes one look at the item and finds the brand label.

Manager: “Sir, this label says Sears.”

Customer: “And?!”

Manager: “We’re not Sears.”

The customer wasn’t pleased about being in the wrong place!

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But You’ll Be Late For Being Early!

, , , | Working | September 1, 2021

Every week, one of the teams meets to discuss the weekly affairs and do some planning for the week ahead. Though I’m not part of that team so I don’t have to join the meeting, I often do as my work touches theirs quite frequently. Most of the meeting isn’t that relevant to me, but occasionally, my input is needed. Tomorrow, I’ll be unable to join at the start (which is the least interesting part of the meeting for me) due to a private appointment. I message the team lead of that team.

Me: “Hey, just letting you know I won’t be joining tomorrow’s meeting at 9:00 sharp.”

Teamlead: “The meeting is at 10:00 tomorrow.”

Me: “Ah, okay. My point still stands, then.”

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There’s Managing And Then There’s Micromanaging

, , , , , | Working | August 20, 2021

My office has flexi-time; you have to be in the office between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, but you can make up the rest of your hours the way you like and whenever you want. It’s been great. Need to leave early or get up late? Just make up the hours as and when.

That is, until [Manager] arrived. She wasn’t really a manager but they needed someone to fill in after our actual boss left abruptly. She was the best of a bad bunch.

Not long after she started, she brought the team together as, apparently, not enough people were around for the early morning meetings. We offered to take turns. I offered to take the first shift to help out, but this wasn’t good enough for [Manager].

Manager: “I want someone to start early every day.”

Me: “What, every week?”

Manager: “Yes, the same person every week.”

Me: “But we have flexitime.”

Manager: “Yes, and you still have flexi-time. But someone will start early.”

Me: “So, flexible working but you have to work the same hours.”

Manager: “Yes.”

Me: “I don’t think you understand what flexi-time is.”

Manager: “Look, if I don’t get a volunteer, I will choose.”

Me: “If you think you can force someone to work outside their contract, good luck.”

Manager: “I have Human Resources on my side!”

Me: “Okay, [Manager], we will choose someone.”

We didn’t. Uncharacteristically, I went to HR as soon as [Manager] left the office. They, of course, were not on board with anything [Manager] mentioned, nor were they even aware of it. [Manager] was called into HR and given a telling-off.

She eventually came back to the office, told us that she hated us, and left. She didn’t come in the next day or the day after, only coming back to collect her things as she resigned.

The full-time replacement came in not long after and was great.

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